It’s easy to write about travels. And taking time off. Sunny days and passport stamps. It’s harder to talk about the day-to-day details, especially about what it takes to finance a life of leisurely unemployment. I initially hesitated to share the “how” of the sabbatical but it’s the one question I get asked the most.
The recent tax season brought up memories of a conversation I had in the midst of making the decision to take time over money. I wrote a post about it on LinkedIn. View it here and here’s an excerpt:
When I was growing up, my parents had a poster in our house that said: I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.
We weren’t rich as a military family so I never quite knew why we had that poster. But I remember absorbing the message even at a young age: Rich is better.
However, rich wasn’t something I ever saw for myself. I went to college on a scholarship and was the first woman on either side of my family to graduate from college. Midway through school, I was having trouble keeping up with the tuition and my mom asked my grandfather if he would help. He said he would give money for secretarial school instead. I took out an extra student loan and never asked for help again.
My first job out of college was at a nonprofit with an annual salary of $20,000. When I switched jobs, I was thrilled to get a $6,000 salary increase. When I passed $100,000, I already had a baby and another one of the way. I was excited to be making six figures and didn’t think beyond it. I always had ambition about work but hadn’t tied that to financial figures.